Sunday, September 16, 2007

My working vacation - part one

I'm skipping ahead a bit here. I'll circle back a bit later to write about the events between July and now.

I've gotten a lot of "why" questions about this trip. So ... I decided a while back that it was just WAY past time for a visit back to Colorado. I still love the place, and miss all my Colorado friends. Colorado, and Denver, will always have a special place in my heart. But things are as they always are ... not enough vacation time, Gregg can't get away, and too short of money for a full blown vacation.

So I decided to fashion myself a little working holiday.

Here's part one of the working holiday ...

Gregg and I drove up to Portland after I got off work on Wednesday. We went to the IKEA to pick up another light fixture for the bathroom, and a couple more DVD storage boxes. We also picked up some treats ... salty black licorice fish and cloudberry (?) jam and stuff. IKEA rocks! Gregg dropped me off at a budget hotel near the airport and left to get home to Demi.

I woke up at 3:30 am (what on EARTH was I thinking scheduling such an early flight), caught my airport shuttle at 4 am, and made it through security in about 20 minutes ... plenty of time to catch my 5:44 am flight to Denver. Again, what was I thinking. Well, I know I was thinking of a cheap ticket ... but how cheap is it really if I have to stay in a hotel in order to make my flight.

Two valuable travel lessons learned:
Printing out the boarding pass in advance saves a TON of time.
The flight isn't that cheap if there are add-on expenses (like lodging).
Early morning wake-up calls totally suck.

After arriving in Denver I dropped in at the Denver office to store my luggage, and had a chance to say "hi" to a bunch of old friends and coworkers. I can't believe it's been THREE YEARS since I left the Denver office. Time flies!!!

I worked downtown at the Starbucks for the day and took the light rail south to Geanie & Travis's place. Wow! Their new place is walking distance to the light rail station, and the house is huge and gorgeous, the backyard is landscaped with grapes and apparently a plum tree, and aspen, and a fountain, and the deck has a pretty decent view of the Rocky Mountains. It's absolutely gorgeous.

After working from their house (and the nearby Starbucks) on Friday, Geanie & Travis & I met up with Donata, and Chip & Andrea for dinner. Donata's just had another baby ... less than two weeks ago ... and she looks absolutely amazing!!! I also had a chance to get to know Andrea a little bit, and get caught up with Chip. I can't believe I forgot my camera for this get-together! Dang! Well, I'll just try not to let another three years go by ...

On Saturday Geanie and Travis took me (and the dogs) up to Keystone for the day. I really wanted to get up to the mountains, just for a little hike or something. Anything. Of course the elevation completely kicked my @$$! I completely forgot what it feels like to be struggling for oxygen before any of your muscles feel engaged. But it was so beautiful! The Aspen are just beginning to show color. Within a couple of weeks they're going to be in full glory.

In the evening we opened up some wine and took the dogs for a short walk, and Travis made us a great meal. Tons of veggies. Exactly what a traveling girl needs!

After getting back to the city this afternoon, Geanie and I walked to the mall (a.k.a. "Lifestyle Center") ... did a little window shopping, had some noodles, and I got a pedicure! First time ever. What luxury. I mean, my feet were looking a little worked, and I'm wearing sandals all week. So there was (arguably) an actual need. But it was also an absolutely cool experience. They started with a little whirlpool bath for my feet, lotioned the feet, massaged the feet, exfoliated and massaged my feet and calves, moisturized feet and calves, hot wax on the feet (surprisingly not unpleasant). What an experience!

And after coming back to the house I got to see another fall lightening storm. Man, I've really missed those. The lightening in Colorado is so amazing! Unfortunately Geanie was out running at the time, and got poured on. But (once she was safely home) it really capped off a great weekend for me!

This morning I took the train up to Downtown Denver, and checked in to the office. More on the work week later ... in part two.

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